As the Michigan Stadium expansion moves into the final third of the project, it got me wondering: aside from whether it will come precariously close to a saturation point - where more seats are produced than the demand for them -- what specifically do fans feel will be the next form of expansion at Michigan Stadium?
This season fans will see near-completed building exteriors. From inside the bowl, the bricks are in place and the glass installed, which will allow the crowd noise to be redirected toward the field, making Michigan Stadium a louder environment - something fans have been crying for for many years. Fans will also see how impressive, and more importantly, imposing, the structures are from the field.
Attending the recent Media Day events at Michigan Stadium, I stood on the field and looked up to the buildings. I have been on the field many times as a field photographer. Something I immediately noticed this day is a new feeling of being closed in, which will add to the imposing feeling for visiting teams, giving our team a dramatic increase in home field advantage. Also from this perspective, after processing the actual size and scale of these structures, especially with the towers rising high above to top of the bowl in the four corners, eyes are directed to the end zones to what now amounts to relative empty space.
Making note of these details from field level, a second deck expansion in each end zone would be a perfect complement to the new buildings. Believe me when I say a second deck would look incredibly menacing from the field! If you doubt me, give yourself an opportunity to stand at midfield. I defy you to come up with a wholly different outcome. As for an expansion of this kind, I would estimate that this could provide an additional 20,000 seats. Imagine a capacity of 128,001. Now THAT is a BIG HOUSE!